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    • Leila Hyder ’24 and Silas Webb ’24 perform alongside Dan Altano in the Hollywood Dish sketch.

    • Actors rehearse the Californians sketch.

    • The poster for The One Acts was created by a student in the Graphic Design class at Hopkins.

“Live From New Haven”... It’s the Winter One Acts!

Grace Laliberte ’24 Arts Editor Ilana Lewitton ’26 Assistant Arts Editor
Much preparation went into the Winter One Acts, performed on December 8 and 9 in Upper Heath. Skilled student directors and actors collaborated on the scenes, which were inspired by late-night sketch comedy.
Much preparation went into the Winter One Acts, performed on December 8 and 9 in Upper Heath. Skilled student directors and actors collaborated on the scenes, which were inspired by late-night sketch comedy.

Under the supervision of Drama Teacher Michael Calderone, student directors took the reins and explored the
realm of directing in a familiar setting — the world of sketch comedy. Calderone was methodical in choosing the theme for this year’s production, sharing, “sketch comedy has been a popular television format for decades.” According to Calderone, this genre of production has many benefits: “I prefer [sketch comedy] for student directed projects. They’re short, self-contained, funny, and manageable by new directors.” Shorter than the normal full-length plays HDA is known for, Calderone agrees that “[these sketches] contain all of the
elements of a play in miniature: costumes, props, scenery, music, and sound effects,” Balancing the many aspects that are built into a production, the One Acts “give young and new directors everything to keep
in mind without being overwhelming.”

The senior schoolers, dedicated veterans of HDA, take the lead in organizing the One Acts. Calderone comments on the importance of the exposure of directing, explaining how he would “rather them have this experience now in a supportive environment instead of at college where small mistakes could be criticized more harshly.” Discussing the process, Silas Webb ’24 shares the many duties he has taken on as a director: “I
think my job is providing building blocks for my actors that they can grow off of, instead of just bending and suppressing their instincts to fit my needs.” Emma Yan ’24 concurs with Webb’s sentiments, sharing how she believes, “directing mainly consists of getting your actors to build up their characters and bond with each other,” and that in her mind, “a play is nothing without good actors.”

Students have also provided extensive contributions to the One Acts behind-the-scenes. Beyla Ridky ’24, Production Stage Manager, describes the unique opportunities that the One Acts provide from a tech perspective, as they allow “as many people [to be] involved as possible.” For stage managers and other members of the tech crew, the show’s structure offers a relaxed atmosphere. Ridky adds, “Because the directors each work with one stage manager, it’s a chance for many people to learn the ropes.”

Caitlin Phipps ’24, the show’s costumer, shares insight into the fast paced costume department: “Students acting in multiple scenes play very different characters, so we have to take into account quick changes and what they can wear for multiple scenes.” Phipps also explained how the technical crew and casts collaborate to produce a finished outfit: “From costuming so many shows for HDA, I’ve found that actors know their characters best, and are valuable sources of input when creating a character’s look. Often, I’ll give an actor a vague idea for a costume that they can pull from their own closet. They’ve never disappointed me. They always know exactly what I’m looking for.”

Given the broad nature of the One Acts, relationships between resident HDA members and newer members are forged in smaller, dedicated casts. Actor Bar Avraham ’26 describes the effect of the rehearsal process of the show: “The casts are much smaller and meet less often, so the relationships within the community are different.” This experience has still been meaningful to her, because she is “able to meet new people who aren’t regular participants of HDA.” Aerin O’Brien ’26, who is also performing in the show, spoke to the different environment the One Acts create: “The One Acts are definitely a little less ‘formal’ in the sense that there isn’t a
strict rehearsal schedule for all of the members and it kind of caters to you and your schedule.”

The flexibility and low-pressure environment of the One Acts is a draw for many busy student actors. As Miri Levin ’26 states, “There is not a lot of out-of-school commitment, which is always nice.” O’Brien agrees that the One Acts “are great because it’s very low stakes,” and this allows her to “feel  more free to just have fun with my character and it also means that non-HDA regulars feel comfortable performing.”

Having senior school students directing the One Acts provides a unique theatrical atmosphere, with leadership and friendship coinciding for directors and actors. O’Brien points out the contrast: “It makes you feel more comfortable because you’re around friends, but it can be hard when your friend is suddenly directing.” Webb
agrees with the difficulties of directing, especially when providing feedback: “It’s tough to call a kid out on a line error or to question somebody’s intentions with a character decision. You feel like a bad guy some- times.” However, the friendship between students and actors is often beneficial, as Laila Rivera Good ’27 describes, “It is much less intimidating to ask a question or try new things when acting.”

Overall, the One Acts encourage theater enthusiasts to explore their passions with the greater Hopkins Community. Ridky explains: “I enjoy watching the directors learn! They all talk to each other and are willing to work with and learn from their actors.”

When asked about what it is like witnessing these student directors at work, Calderone stated: “They do things you might not do but you know they’re going to be okay.”
Editor in Chief 
Asher Joseph

Managing Editor 
Margaret Russell

Claire Billings
Jo Reymond
Rose Porosoff
Eric Roberts
Abby Rakotomavo
Elona Spiewak
Veena Scholand
Miriam Levin
Liliana Dumas
Saisha Ghai
Olivia Yu
Anya Mahajan
Rain Zeng
Winter Szarabajka
Aerin O'Brien

Karun Srihari
Samantha Bernstein
Hana Beauregard
Micah Betts
Elaina Paktuka
Edel Lee
Anjali van Bladel
Nate Gerber
Rebecca Li

Hailey Willey
Web Editors
Amelia Hudonogov-Foster
Anvi Pathak
Chloe Wang

Faculty Advisers
Stephen May
Elizabeth Gleason
Shanti Madison
The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
The Razor,
 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
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